Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TWD: Baking With Julia - Chocolate-Mint Nightcaps

These cookies sounded wonderful and not too hard to make, so I gave them a try.  Anything that has lots of chocolate isn't hard to talk me into baking!  I think they turned out decently, but not favorite by any means.  The cookie probably could have cooked for a little bit longer, they were really soft.  Mikey said I could blame the altitude for that, so I will and I think the cookies may harden a little after a day or so!  Also, I thought that by cooking the mint into the cream that they would be mintier than they were, but it is a good amount of mint.  All in all I might try them again someday and play with the recipe a little bit...  it's not like we are not going to eat all of them!

First I made the ganache....  I boiled the heavy cream with chopped up mint and then whisked it into the chocolate!

Then it was on to the cookies, they were really simple to whip up.  I do think my eggs were a bit too cold when I added them, so my butter got a little chunky.  I added the flour mixture anyways and it turned into a creamy chocolate dough, or maybe batter is a better term.

Piped a little ganache in the middle and gave it a shot as to what I thought a nightcap should look like!  Then I ate it in about three bites!  Don't pay any attention to how uneven my cookies turned out, I didn't measure out perfect scoops.

Smaller might have been better because these are chocolaty!  Also I think more mint would be nice, but all in all it was a nice and different recipe to try.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our trip to Texas

Throughout September my Grandfather was in the hospital in Texas and on the 20th he passed away with family at his side. We found out on Thursday that things were not looking too good and they were wanting to move my Grandpa to hospice.  They moved him on Friday.  My parents had just gotten back from being in Texas the weekend before, but they packed up their stuff and headed right back down there.  On Friday I spent some time changing our travel plans and we headed down on Saturday morning.  We were already planning on going in mid-October to celebrate his and my other Grandmas 90th birthdays, so we just changed our flights.

We got in Saturday afternoon and he passed away that night.  We spent that night saying our goodbyes with the immediate family.  It was a very sad time, but I think we were all really glad to be there for each other and my Grandma.  Although I know Noah won't remember it, I am really glad that Noah got to meet him last Thanksgiving.

From last Thanksgiving, Noah really enjoyed his Great-Grandpa
Reading with his Grandpa's
Over the week, we saw family and met more family!   We got to celebrate my Grandpa's life and say a final farewell.   He was almost 90 and had been married for 64 years.  He was a great loving Grandpa and I am so thankful for all the memories and time I got to spend with him!  He is dearly missed.

While we were there we did celebrate my other Grandma's 90th birthday, it was a little early, but we still had a great time celebrating her!  Noah also got to spend a lot of time playing with her and we hope he didn't wear her out too much!  Noah loved playing with her and even asked to sit with her in her chair several times.  We did have some down time to enjoy the warm weather and spend some time with both sides of my family.

Noah with his Great-Grandma a few weeks before she turned 90!
Enjoying a nice day in East Texas
Noah on Great-Grandpa's tractor
I don't think Mikey got the memo...
Spending time with the cousins

When did it become October???

Man, September really got away from us and now it's already past the middle of October.   We had few excuses as to why we went MIA, but hopefully now we are back for frequent updates! So, here is a kind of long update.  We started off  September with a trip to see the hot air balloons during Labor Day weekend.  This is something both Mikey and I did when we were kids, and this was the last year the city is going to host the balloons, so I made Mikey get up early and take me and Noah downtown.  We also decided to take a hike to Raspberry Mountain that day.  We were a bit skeptical how well Noah was going to hold up, he got a little fussy towards mile three, but had some snacks and fell asleep.  He woke up at the top, probably wondering why his ride stopped, and then did great all the way back to the car.

Mikey and Noah in front of the elephant balloon

The view from the top!
Mikey's step brother, Zak and his now wife Erin, got married in the beginning of the month.  They had a beautiful ceremony at the Shove Chapel downtown.  They also asked Noah to be the ring bearer!  He was very cute.  He didn't make it all the way down the aisle, but he started to go.  After the ceremony we went to a very fun reception where Noah wandered all over the hotel!

The ring bearer and flower girls
One flower girl was trying to help him going down the aisle
Mr. and Mrs. Klecker!
Noah the ring bearer
The handsomest men in my life!
We also had a lovely visit with Aunt Jacquie and Noah even got to spend a whole day with her and Nana!  Mikey, I, and Grandpa didn't have too much trouble leaving them to play, because we made our way to Breckenridge for the day to have some fun at Oktoberfest!  We drank delicious beer, ate brats, kielbasa, and pretzels, and we each had our own delicious apple strudel!

Mikey and David at Oktoberfest
Apple Strudel and Beer!
We had no problem finishing our own apple strudels!

US Pro Challenge

It seems to have become a tradition for us to get out to cheer on the professional bikers when they ride through town every year.  This year was no different.  I did actually volunteer during the race in Colorado Springs so I was not just spectating the whole time, but I did get to see and cheer the riders on every lap they made through downtown Colorado Springs.

On Sunday, we headed to Denver to catch the end of the race.  We got to see the riders four times as they rode a circuit around downtown.  It was a pretty fun day of cheering and we even got to stalk two of the riders.  It was Jens Voigt's last professional race, you may know the saying Shut Up Legs...   I snagged a selfie with him!  And while waiting for Jensie, we got to see Frank Shelck, I know, you're jealous. We even got to get in a group fan picture with the whole team.   And then we found the winner of the race Tejay Vangarderen.  Mikey got his autograph after waiting a long time to see him.  They were both very nice to their fans.

The race
Frank making the rounds
Jensie's group photo from the back
Me and Jensie, I was a little excited
Tejay signing Mikey's shirt

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes

I am a day late on posting this blog, but that was because I was also a day late on baking... whoops, time just seems to really get away from me these days.  It is a great thing to be busy spending time with family and enjoying the great outdoors, but I really wanted to join in on this recipe.  So, I did, just later than I planned.

The recipe this week was Plum cakes!  I watched the video with Julia cooking them last week and they looked wonderful.  I am not the biggest plum fan, so I just thought I would try a few different fruits instead.  I went with an apple and a nectarine.  The nectarine definitely won!  The cake mix was super simple and with just two tablespoons of batter and a half of a nectarine it was quick to put together.  I think the key to the batter was whipping the butter and sugar on high for over three minutes and then whipping in the eggs at a high speed as well.

They turned out great and I am glad I baked the recipe this week.  If you want to check out the other variations head over to the blogroll at Tuesday with Dorie.

Here are few pictures I snapped along they way!

Batter getting fluffy
Just a little batter was needed
Top with an apple and a nectarine
Of course top the fruit with brown sugar
Finished nectarine cake, pretty still in the ramekin
Finished apple cake, the brown sugar melted into the bottom
It fell apart a little, but served with ice cream no one minded!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Remember When

It seems so unreal to me that Noah has only really been a part of our lives for a year and a half.  In some ways it seems much longer than just 18 months and in so many other ways it only seems like he has been our little man for just a few short months.

Today our little baby seems like he is a real toddler, he gives hugs and kisses and throws fits like a two year old.  He cries his little heart out for all sorts of things, but a sippy cup full of juice usually can calm him right back down into the happy little toddler who just wants to give kisses to any stuffed animal nearby.

We haven't had his official 18 month check up yet, so I am not sure what all his stats are, but he is about 23 pounds and over 2 1/2 feet tall.  He is still wearing a lot of 12 month clothes, but the 18 month sizes are starting to sneak their way up to the main drawer in his dresser.  It's a little hard to see him getting so big, but we are loving all the exploring and learning that he is experiencing every day!

Here are some growth pictures to show how big he has gotten over the last year and a half.  He has a full head of hair and sure is making that teddy bear look smaller and smaller!

3 days old
6 months
1 year old
18 months

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TWD: Baking With Julia - Baking Powder Biscuits

I have been missing baking along the last four months...  I can't believe I didn't bake a single thing with everyone for that long, how embarrassing.  Ok, well I am back and ready to bake some more.  The recipe for today, Baking Powder Biscuits, was quick and easy and they turned out great.  I probably could have cut the recipe in half, because biscuits two days later are never quite as good as when they are fresh out of the oven.  If you want some other variations check out the blog role at Tuesdays With Dorie.

It is a pretty simple combination of flour, baking powder and salt.  Added some milk and shortening and was pretty much ready to roll them out.  They were light and fluffy on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside.  They recommended to add a little butter on top before cooking them and I meant to, but completely forgot until they had already cooked for about five minutes.  Oh well, guess that means we just had to add more butter on the inside!  They turned out great and if we ever want some more biscuits I am glad this recipe will be in reach.
Crumbly mix
Ready to roll

Hot out of the oven
Mmmmm butter
Jellies at the ready

Sunday, August 10, 2014

His first haircut!

On Thursday night my Mom came over to the house to watch Noah for us so we could go see one of Julie's favorite singers, Ray LaMontagne, in concert at Red Rocks.  She was so excited to get to be with Noah, she stayed at our house and watched him all day Friday too!  Noah really had a great time with her!  Julie and I had a great time at the concert too, it rained on us a bit, but it never got too bad.

A great rainbow before the show started
The stage and downtown Denver, with the other end of the rainbow
The lights reflecting off the light rain that fell during the show
They call this burying the lead, but Noah had his first hair cut this weekend!  It was really more of a trim to get rid of some of the curly ends and to get the hair out of his eyes up front.  We took him to the hair cutting place right down the road from us, and the lady did wonderful with him.  She moved while he moved his head and let him hold several combs during the process.  Noah also did wonderfully, no tears or screaming and seemed mostly curious at what was going on.  He did so well that he got to have his first ever lollipop after the hair cut!  He was a bit confused about the sucker at first, but he warmed up quickly.  He did not like it when the paper came off of the stick though!

"Driving" the stroller to the barber shop
Walking around a bit before the cutting begins
A side view
Cutting the locks
I like combs Dad! 
Enjoying his first sucker